Hello from Colorado. Davalynn Spencer here, relishing the near-summer sunshine and welcoming author Cynthia L. Simmons today as she shares about her unique nonfiction release and how it could be a boon to parent-educators today.
Cynthia, tell us a little about your book.
Pursuing Gold: A History and Critical Thinking Curriculum goes with my mystery novel, Pursuing Gold. The book contains more historical information about the Civil War era and teaches critical thinking. It includes puzzles, activities, and deeper information on how money changed during the war between the states.
What a great idea to partner additional information with a novel. What inspired you to do this?
I had written a mystery novel about a Confederate bank, and I wanted to find more ways to share what I had learned in my research. So, I wrote a curriculum for homeschool families based on the novel. They can sit around the table and do the exercises together after reading each chapter. Moms have told me they love the curriculum because it brings up topics they would never have considered.
This sounds like the perfect time for a book such as yours, when parents are handling their children’s education more than ever before. Is there anything in particular you want readers to glean from this book?
The curriculum has a heavy emphasis on critical thinking because our culture has moved away from a Biblical worldview. Kids need to be able to think clearly so they won’t be deceived. I also included information on how to handle money and avoid debt in the appendix. That’s a big problem for a lot of adults, so I thought it might help both.
As a former public educator and homeschool parent myself, I can attest to the fact that the teacher learns right along with the student.
Do you have a favorite section in this book?
I researched the history of the stethoscope and included that in the book. Children can make their own stethoscope and take their heart rate when they finish.
Wow – what a terrific activity for a family, especially now in these stay-at-home days.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
My novels portray a Biblical worldview because stories are a great way to communicate, influence, and teach. Even Jesus used parables because he knew people could relate to stories. In the curriculum, I include critical thinking questions in which the children compare Scripture with the character’s choices. We want to teach our children that we reap what we sow.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul told us God gives us encouragement so we can give it away to others. The Lord encouraged me when I was teaching my disabled son, so I started writing to share that with younger women. Now that I’ve written for a while, I realize I’ve been so blessed because I had a godly husband. I want to share what I learned raising five children so I can help other families.
Often readers reach out to us about our stories. Can you tell us about your most touching moment with a reader?
One father kept telling me how much he loved the novel, and he’d tell me every time he saw me. His wife really liked the curriculum and kept talking about how much she’d learned.
Tell us a little about your life away from writing. Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I was a registered nurse before I married, but I stopped working when I had a houseful of children. My nursing finds its way into my writing because I love medicine and forensic details.
Do you have pets and if so, do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I have two ragdoll cats, who like to climb on me. One of them turned off my mic when I was doing an interview and that created some chaos. Their cat adventures often find their way into my devotionals.
Yes, cat-control of a mic would definitely create some excitement!
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
Typically, I set my personal deadline about a week ahead of the project’s due date. At the start of each day, I set goals depending on what needs to be finished first. Once I finish one project I move to the next. Taking breaks helps restore my focus after I’ve worked a long time. Running errands and appointments with doctors mess up my schedule, so I tend to put them off longer than I should.
Do you have a favorite library memory?
I researched my first novel in the local history section of my hometown library. My children stayed with my mother, and dad went with me. His love of history sparked mine because we visited all the Civil War battlefields in our area. In the library, he’d find a book and read through it while I worked. Those are precious memories now that he’s in heaven.
What fabulous family memories, something that you seem to be encouraging parents to make with their own children.
Tell us about your next project.
I’m working on a devotional about money with Tina Yeager called Minted for More and a middle grade novel with Terri Gillespie called A Penny Saved.
Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing such encouraging words with us today.
For more about Cynthia L. Simmons, check out Cynthia’s website.
And may all that you read be uplifting.